Short of surgically grafting a plastic guitar, bass and drums onto our limbs, there’s no way we thought Rock Band on PSP would ever work. How wrong we were. Wisely mimicking their previous games Frequency and Amplitude, developers Harmonix have mapped different notes onto the handheld’s face buttons, with the shoulder buttons switching instruments. We’ve been playing the game a fair bit recently and can honestly say it’s an intuitive, enjoyable system. So, in honour of giving our fingers a musical flexing, here are our ten favourite tracks from Unplugged in no particular order.
10. Ace of Spades '08 - Motorhead - 1980s Metal
Ah Lemmy, will your rusty chainsaw-like larynx never quit? Motorhead’s frontman has been scoffing through the lozenges since 1980, primarily because of this song. The high-tempo track is one of the few tunes to be marked under the Impossible category in Unplugged. It’s worth persisting with, though. Even if it’s just to conjure up memories from a certain scene in 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank, involving two bullet-spewing hitmen, Max Payne-style dives and an Ultimart clerk playing Doom oblivious.
Above: The official song of Doom. Probably
9. Wonderwall - Oasis - 1990s Rock
One of the tracks available through the game’s first DLC pack, Wonderwall is probably the Mancunian rock band’s most famous song. With easy-going, sombre beats, it’s a fun track to learn the Unplugged basics on. It’s probably a better idea to play this on your handheld than listen to the song live at an Oasis gig, too. We’ll take developing PSP claw over getting spat on and sworn at by the Gallagher bros any day.
8. More than a Feeling - Boston - 1970s Classic Rock
Ranked the 39th best hard rock song by VH1 – Woo! – More than a Feeling is one of the easiest tracks in the game to play. With simple bass and guitar sections, Boston’s best known song is perfect for those getting to know the game.
Above: Less than a haircut
7. Pinball Wizard - The Who - 1960s Classic Rock
Despite being one of Homer Simpson’s favourite Who tracks, Pinball Wizard only reached number four in the UK pop charts. Pete Townshend, who wrote the tune, called one line in the song, which goes “I thought I was the Bally table king, but I just handed my pinball crown to him”, the clumsiest piece of writing he’d ever done. We’ve seen this completed 100% on expert, though, and clumsy is certainly not a word that springs to mind.
6. Mr. Brightside - The Killers - 2000s Alternative
A tricky guitar solo right at the beginning sets a moderately tough tone for Mr. Brightside. Our favourite tune from the Las Vegas band’s debut album, Hot Fuss, it’s also packed full of challenging drums sections, though the vocal bits are easy to nail. Worth a play through, if only to relive a time when new Killers’ albums weren’t tinged with disappointment.
Above: The Killers in their prime
5. Hysteria - Muse - 2000s Alternative
Another DLC track, Hysteria is one of our favourite tracks from alternative British rockers Muse. One of the better songs from their Absolution album, frontman Matt Bellamy’s lighting-fast lyrics will keep your fingers busy. A great tune, providing you like your music a bit shouty and from…erm, Devon.
4. ABC - Jackson 5 - 1970s Pop/Rock
The song that defined Michael Jackson’s childhood career, long before the seminal pop singer started going tragically weird. With a sugary sweet beat and lyrics, its perfect sunny weather music. It’s also an easy track to play. Although we won’t pretend seeing it performed by the game’s eclectic, random selection of fully grown emo and hardcore rockers isn’t disconcerting.
Above: Awwww. Who cares if one of them grew up to be hugely unhinged?
3. The Middle - Jimmy Eat World - 2000s Pop/Rock
Despite charting a depressing time for its band after they were dropped by their record label, The Middle actually has a really upbeat tempo. While it’s not that hard a track to play, it does have some of the trickier drum sections in Unplugged outside of the Impossible category.
2. Carry On Wayward Son - Kansas 1970s - Progressive
Packed full of enjoyable vocal solos, Kansas' hit track is maybe our favourite 70s song on Unplugged. It’s a fairly challenging song, with middling guitar and bass bits offset by some nails drum sections. Carry on Wayward Son also plays during Anchorman’s end credits. And any tune that gets the Ron Burgundy endorsement is alright by us.
Above: There's little better feeling than getting in the zone and nailing big score multipliers
1. Float On - Modest Mouse - 2000s Indie Rock
The chorus to Float On is stupidly catchy. Like Mario’s main theme coupled with Sonic’s Green Hill Zone catchy. Modest Mouse’s tune is turning into a bit of a hit with EA’s series, too, having previously featured in Rock Band 2. A relaxing song to play, only a few hectic drum sections will give you any trouble.
June 24, 2009